When we were kids, my parents had a smart way of dealing with the whole Santa thing, allowing both magic and a grasp of the value of money. My parents sent money to Santa, we were told how much, we made a list of things we’d like for EXACTLY that amount and Santa would provide. That way, we knew that it was my dad’s overtime that meant some years we were more flush than others, rather than that we’d just been “really good”. Sure, Santa made the toys and delivered them, but he was just a service that my parents used.
As adults, we still make lists. For ease and also because I don’t like surprises. I feel the same way about opening a present that’s the wrong shape for what I ordered – sorry, asked for – as I do about someone jumping out and raaaring at me from behind a door. An ape ruffled my hair in the cinema when I was watching The Jungle Book aged five and I’m not sure I’ve ever recovered. Of course you can put what you like in my stocking. I’ve said that before, can you tell? Stockings for us are a temporary home for satsumas, nuts and a shiny 20-pence piece. If anything, emptying a stocking is just tidying. Usual fruit bowl, festive nut bowl, purse, done.
We go one further than making lists and giving them to each other. Some of us, not all, actually just buy what we want, wrap it up and write our name on the label then hand it over on Christmas Eve only to have it handed back on Christmas Day. You might wince at that.
Where’s the magic, Sarah? The magic, my friend, is that I get to sit on my bum eating After Eights while you’re standing in the returns queue of Marksies with your coat on, feeling faint and working out your story about how it’s a duplicate present because you can’t bring yourself to tell a stranger that you hate what your mam bought you.
My present to myself is time off. Telly watching, cooking, eating, visiting family and have them visit us. Christmas is like the Bank Holiday of TV. The smashing lot at Radio Times have asked me to make a list of what I’d like for Christmas. How lovely. Though not from them (oh), but from the following comedy stars:
From the cast of Benidorm, I would like a weekend in the sun, please. I’d like the Not Going Out gang to provide some bloopers for me. Miranda’s DVD is already on my Santa list, but in addition, if she could just sit beside me for ever that would be amazing. I’d like Mrs Brown’s Boys to show me what Mrs Brown looked like at 39 as I have a horrible feeling that she is me (I’ve been compared to Tootsie and Mrs Doubtfire in the past. Essentially very hairy men dressed as women). And if the staff at Still Open All Hours could drop me off a big Christmas food shop that would save me a lot of trouble.
Have a wonderful Christmas, you lot!
Should you be worried about being alone or lonely this Christmas Day, you are welcome to #joinin on Twitter. For the past few years, I’ve tried to create a community so that those wanting some company can use the hashtag #joinin and make contact with others for daftness and warmth.
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